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Lufthansa makes commercial flight with 10% farnesane blend from Amyris/Total; supporting jatropha development for bio-jet production

A recent Lufthansa flight LH 190 from Frankfurt to Berlin Tegel was operated using a 10% blend of the new biofuel component farnesane. This was the first scheduled flight in Europe to run on this fuel mix. Farnesane is a Direct Sugar to Hydrocarbon (DSHC) bio-kerosene developed jointly by Total and the US-based biotech company Amyris, which in April of this year received RSB (Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials) Certification.

Brazilian airline GOL flew the industry’s first commercial flight with the recently approved farnesane (earlier post) in July. (Earlier post.) ASTM had revised its jet fuel standard in June, paving the way for airlines to use Synthesized Iso-Paraffin (SIP) farnesane as a jet fuel component in commercial airlines globally.

The Lufthansa flight was preceded by a rig test at Lufthansa Technik’s facility in Hamburg in autumn 2013 as part of the EU’s “Blending Study” project. The tests showed that blending can improve fuel emission characteristics.

In order to translate the research projects conducted jointly with universities and business enterprises into practice, the Lufthansa Group also relies on the use of jatropha, an oil-bearing plant that grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Lufthansa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with JatroSolutions GmbH (a subsidiary of EnBW, the third-largest German energy company) to make jatropha production commercially viable. In future, Lufthansa will help the start-up company to set up a raw materials supply chain to ensure the provision of biosynthetic fuel derived from the jatropha plant.

These activities are a continuation of the recently concluded “burnFAIR” project. In 2011, Lufthansa became the first airline worldwide to use a biofuel mix in scheduled daily operations when it conducted a six-month test run with an Airbus A321 on the Frankfurt-Hamburg route. The long-term trial was accompanied by detailed measurements of emissions as well as by research on production processes and biomass availability. The final report on burnFAIR is now available for download at aireg.de.

The Lufthansa Group is actively involved in various initiatives such as SAFUG (Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group) and aireg (Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany) with a view to setting up a new supply chain for the future provision of the Lufthansa Group with biofuel.

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